Melanie, Tampax and my First Tour
by Regis Boff
I grew up in a time when Tampax and its uses were a heavily guarded secret. Procter and Gamble now owns the Tampax brand but originally it produced large quantities of wound dressings for the military during WWII. Because it was a war product it had almost an exclusive female workforce. At one time it ranked #4 on the Fortune 500 list for return on equity. The original product was designed to be flushable and biodegradable.
As I said, I knew nothing about all this except what I could glean from boxes left out by accident by my mother who would have preferred being raped by Cossacks than be forced to explain female plumbing to me. Methodists do not talk about such things. Maybe Catholics do but that was of no consequence for me because we did not talk to any Catholics.
I carried this ignorance into my immediate twenties with an unhidden relief.
My first job in the music business was with a folk singer named Melanie. I was hired to drive and to establish myself firmly as the lowest person on tour. I did not actually see her perform until the third show. Just before she went on the first night she asked me to stay in her basement dressing room with her two springer spaniels to keep them company.
The second show for me was in Cleveland. As Melanie was heading down the stairs to the stage she grabbed hold of me and with some urgency sent me out to buy her Tampax.